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  • Writer's pictureKirk Hartley

Focus on Piracy – Specialized Courts Needed ?

Opinio Juris includes this interesting post on a high-level pro bono effort to focus on confronting the growing problem of piracy. One recommendation involves creating a specialized court to confront the pirates.

How bad is the problem? According to the article:

"After 200 years of quiescence, Piracy has re-emerged as a major problem for world shipping. A recent report has documented that Piracy has resulted in more than $12 billion in losses in the past twelve months alone. According to an August 11, 2011 article in the Guardian, Piracy is also significantly hampering food aid to drought-stricken Somalia, resulting in thousands of deaths. Somali pirates have recently seized more than fifty vessels and taken over 1,000 crewmembers and passengers hostage. And the problem is getting worse."

The possible court is explained as follows:

"The August 11, 2011 Working Group meeting began with a detailed briefing by Jennifer Landsidle (DOS) of recent developments at the United Nations, including relating to the UN Secretary-General’s June 15 Report on “The Modalities for the establishment of Specialized Somalia Anti-Piracy Courts.” The proposed Specialized Court would be loosely modeled on the Scotish Court that prosecuted the two Libyan Pan Am 103 bombing defendants at Camp Zeist in The Netherlands. It would apply Somali and International Law, and have its seat at the ICTR Courthouse in Aurusha, Tanzania."

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